For the week of April 14, 1999  thru April 20, 1999  

Geography bee puts local student to the test

Express Staff Writer

Wood River Middle School sixth-grader Lindsay Mollineaux took her geographic knowledge to the National Geographic bee held in the Elkhorn Resort on Friday.

Mollineaux joined 104 students from across Idaho, all of whom hoped to qualify for the national bee and a chance to win a $25,000 scholarship.

Even though it was the third year in a row that she made the state qualifiers, Mollineaux said she "felt butterflies."

"There were a lot of questions with long syllables," she said after the bee.

Mollineaux did not qualify for the national bee, but after Friday’s contest, she seemed upbeat.

"I’m not upset by it," she said. "I have a lot of other things going on."

Other things going on include constructing a satellite with neutral buoyancy in space, which she is engineering with other students in the Wood River Middle School technology room.

"I’m interested in things that are beyond earth," Mollineaux said.

To make the state bee, every Idaho student in fourth- through eighth-grade had the opportunity to take a preliminary geography quiz. The top-scorer represented the school. School representatives then took a geography test, which qualified the 104 finalists.

Mollineaux and her cohorts in the bee are far beyond basic questions like "What is the capitol of South Dakota?"

They are, instead, asked questions like these: "Which of the Prairie Provinces produces more oil and natural gas than all of the other Canadian provinces combined?" or "What river flows from its source near Lake Baikal across Siberia to the Laptev Sea?"

How does one study for such challenging questions?

"It’s really hard to prepare because everything in the world is geography," Mollineaux said.

In its attempt to rekindle student interest in geography with its national bees, National Geographic has certainly been successful with Mollineaux.


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